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July 25, 1985 - Image 5

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Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1985-07-25

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OPINION

The Michigan Daily
Obe Oticbt-an 'ai1V
Vol. XCV, No. 38-S,
95 Years of Editorial Freedom
Managed and Edited by Students at
The University of Michigan
Editorials represent a majority opinion of the
Daily Editorial Board
Budget rhetoric
IF GOV. James Blanchard vetoes part of the higher
education budget because certain colleges and
universities decide not to freeze tuition this fall, he will be
setting a dangerous precedent.
The governor's office is justifiabl; angry at tuition in-
creases. The University's tuition level is already one of the
highest in the nation. Higher tuition levels will only hurt
low- and moderate income families.
However, the governor's office should not try to coerce
the University in this manner. If they feel the University
should keep a lid on tuition, then present facts and figures
not rhetoric.
The facts and figures show that the legislature cut back
the amount of money it was giving the University in the
1970s. The state's contribution to the University's
operating budget decreased from 60.7 percent in 1975 to
47.5 percent in 1983. The University was forced to postpone
several construction projects and increases in faculty
salaries. The University's ability to compete with peer in-
stitutions was hampered by the lack of state support.
The legislature has started to reverse this trend in the
last two years. But ten years of neglect will not be offset by
two years of prosperity.
The University should do everything within its power to
keep tuition down. But the University administration can
no longer afford to postpone projects or salary increases if
it wishes to maintain the quality of the University.
Gov. Blanchard is encouraged to soften his budget direc-
P tor's threat of a veto for those colleges and universities
who can not freeze tuition this fall. No one wants to pay
more for college, but the legislators have only themselves
to blame for the tuition increases.
i xEs kes 2 . .. ..:;Z. :,k. . , .: :..qxo s ,:.:w ..,...., ....:,, ,
Letters to the Daily should be typed,
triple-spaced, and signed by the in-
dividual authors. Names will be withheld
only in unusual circumstances. Letters
may be edited for clarity, grammar, and
spelling.

Thursday, July 25, 1985

Page 5

Barriers for inner city youth

freeway in Walnut Creek office
By Louis Freedberg buildings and shopping malls have
mushroomed, spawning a plethora of
WALNUT CREEK, CA.- One of jobs. Nationally, office construction
the real anomalities in the U.S. job has been higher than within the cen-
scene is that while inner city youth tral city since 1975. Currently 60 to 65
face permanent unemployment em- percent of all office building is taking
ployers in surrounding suburbs are place outside the central city.
begging for workers. Job counselors and young people
Teenagers crowding into the agree that transportation is a major
Chamber of Commerce youth em- obstacle. Oakland's bus system, they
ployment office in this white, mostly point out, does not reach into the
affluent suburb are having no trouble suburbs, and to get there inner-city
finding jobs this summer. As in most teens would have to commit them-
such communities across the country, selves to an expensive and time-
openings in fast food restaurants, ice consuming combination of public
cream parlors, shoe stores are going transportation systems.
unfilled. Some older teens say they'd be
BUT JUST a few miles away in willing to travel to the suburbs - if
Oakland's decaying inner city, the they could be assured of a regular 8-
odds are overwhelmingly agaiinst hour-a-day job. But, as they know,
young people looking for work. Out of most teen jobs are part-time and
3,500 young people registered at the temporary.
Mayor's Summer Jobs Program, at OTHERS ARE convinced they'd be
most1,400 willfind jobs. rejected becausesthey're black.
"It's as if these are two different "They look at you as if you're dirt,"
worlds," says economist Tom Larson says Johnny Mitchell-Clark, 19, a 1983
at the University of California at high school graduate who has applied
Berkeley. for work in one nearby suburb. "They
These two worlds - the first with don't have any black people around
its healthy growing economy, the there. They'd think you want to move
second with its deteriorating there and mess up their area."
economic infrastructurethighlight Younger black teens at the
the gap between white and black Oakland offices of the Urban League,
youth employment, nowpegged at16 taking classes that they hope will lead
percent for white youth compared to to a summer job, are adamant that
40.0 percent for blacks, according to they would't go out of Oakland to look
The Bureau of Labor Statistics. for a job - though that postion is
Most experts agree the real gap is tempered by a series of "ifs." "If we
even wders ghad cars, it would be a lot easier." "If
SOME ECONOMISTS suspect that it was eight hours." "If you're single,
this may have more to do with the fact you live with your parents, and you
that black youth are simply cut off don't have any kids."
from areas of high economic growth For single black mothers like Jan-
than with and lack of skills or ex- nis Franklin, 20, suburban work is out
perience. of the question. Franklin, a part-time
The problem, however, cannot be student at a community college with
resolved simply by figuring out how two children agedkand2, depends on
to transport black youth to the subur- her welfare check of $480 a month.
bs. Instead, a myriad of factors - in- Rent alone is $320. "Getting out there
cluding low wages, unfamiliarity with would take up your whole check," she
turf, and job discrimination - have says.
joined to create a virtually im- TEENS IN the job class also point
penetrable barrier between the in- to their unfamiliarity withthe "turf"
ner-city and the suburbs. beyond Oakland. Some do not even
Oakland's East 14th Street, a miles- know where the suburbs are. Most
long commercial thoroughfare cut- would agree with Carlton Jones, 15,
ting through many of the city's black who says, "I'd prefer to work in
neighborhoods, is a dismal string of Oakland. I know my way around
fast food outlets, liquor stores lafn- here." Others asked if their bus tran-
dromats, and car dealerships, dotted sfers would be accepted in the subur-
with lots and shuttered storefronts. bs - or whether a suburban bus
JUST 20 MINUTES away on the system existed at all.
BLOOM COUNTY
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29 32

Job counselor Peter Crabtree says
the problem of turf is so severe that
some teens are even afraid to go out
of their own neighborhood to look for
jobs, let alone out of Oakland
altogether.
All these obstacles mean that inner-
city job programs rarely try to find
work for teens in the suburbs. "Com-
panies send us orders, but they're
doing it as an affirmative action
gesture, they don't intend to hire from
the Urban League," says Crabtree.
BOB BRUNER, who directs a job
placement program at St. Mary's
College in Moraga, an affluent suburn
near Walnut Creek, confirms that
employers like to "hire someone
that's local ... connected to the
community. They don't want to have
to pick somebody from BART."
Ultimately, these difficulties could
be less important if a growing labor
shortage in the suburbs forces em-
ployers to turn to innercity youth.
George Sternlieb, director of the
Rutgers University Center for Urban
Policy Research, says such a shor-
tage is possible as fewer people will
be entering the labor force - 1.4
million annually in 1990-95, down from
an average of 2.2 million in 1968-80.
He points out that informal tran-
sportation systems, using private jit-
neys - called "slave vans" by critics
- are already in use to shuttle unem-
ployeo inner-city workers to outlying
suburbs in the New York area and
elsewhere.
"SOMEONE rents or buys a van,
loads it up with 12 to 15 ladies from
ghetto areas for a buck or two each,
and then drops them off to do a day's
domestic work and picks them up on
the way back," says Sternlieb, who
adds the system is "very substantial
and expanding."
Such systems could help bridge the
gap between white and black youth
labor markets. "Suburban employers
are going to be looking for these kids,
not because them love them but
because they're all they'll be able to
find," Sternlieb says.
"The numbers suggest this is a
window of opportunity that's opening
before us to reduce black youth
unemployment, not only as a
statistical phenomenon, but to ensure
that these kids grow up as part of
mainstream America."
Freedberg wrote this for Pacific
News Service.
by Berke Breathed
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